Warp pads are teal, crystalline platforms which resemble the top half of a brilliant-cut diamond. It is unknown what warp pads are made of, but it seems to be a solid material.
Most warp pads bear the exact same design, with the exception of the warp pads at the galaxy warp. Warp pads to other planets include a small set of stairs, and the Homeworld Warp appears to be a large warp pad on top of a slightly larger warp pad. The side etchings on the warp pad at Rose's garden near Rose's fountain differ slightly from the standard faceted look.
When activated, a warp pad emits a cylindrical beam of bright light - commonly referred to as a warp stream - and phases its occupants to the location they desire. From outside the warp stream, its passengers appear to fade away upwards into the stream. The stream extends as high as it can, into the sky or into a ceiling, and the warp itself cannot be physically obstructed or interrupted.
Warp pads can be independently activated by Gems (including Steven), Gem-created technology (such as Peridot's Robonoids in "Warp Tour" or "Marble Madness"), and non-Gems using the warp whistle. However, anything that is atop a warp pad when the pad is activated will warp to the same destination as the activator. In the episode "Winter Forecast", the Crystal Gems are shown attempting to warp the shooting star to the galaxy warp without warping themselves, implying that such a process is possible but difficult.
Warp pads transport their occupants through warp space. It is unclear how warp space works, though it's evident that common warp pads can only warp between other warp pads on Earth. In the episodes "Cheeseburger Backpack", "Serious Steven", and "Warp Tour", it is shown that warps are not actually instantaneous, its passengers ride the warp stream for a short while through warp space.
It was first seen in "Coach Steven" that heavy objects can destroy warp pads and render them unusable. Pearl was unable to return to the Communication Hub after it was accidentally destroyed by Sugilite. Garnet destroyed the repaired Homeworld warp with her gauntlets in the episode "Warp Tour", Amethyst destroyed another off-planet warp pad at the galaxy warp with her whip and a broken structure during an attempt to capture Peridot in the episode "Friend Ship", Alexandrite accidentally smashed the Mask Island warp pad with her hand in a fight with Malachite in the episode "Super Watermelon Island".
Although a broken warp pad appears unusable, it is possible to repair them. in the episode Warp Tour Peridot's flask robonoids are able to repair the Homeworld warp and the Crystal Temple warp from damage assumedly done by Crystal Gems after Homeworld Gems evacuated Earth. It is never made certain whether Steven is able to repair the damage done to warp pads with his healing abilities, as the only attempt was conducted when Steven was struggling with inconsistently manifesting powers. Healing spit has a shimmering crystal effect and an audio cue when it is functioning properly, and lacks this cue when Steven attempts to heal the Homeworld warp for Peridot.
An uninstalled warp pad was first seen in Steven Universe: The Movie being set in place at Little Homeworld. Steven accidentally warped onto it while it's still being towed into place, showing that warp pads do not need to be set in the ground yet to be accessed.
Known Warp Pad Locations
- Ancient Gem colony ship landing site (South America)
- Ancient Sky Arena
- Attack the Light Dungeons
- Beta Kindergarten
- Communication Hub (inactive as of "Coach Steven")
- Crystal Temple
- The Desert
- Flower meadow
- Near the forge
- Galaxy warp
- Homeworld warp (inactive as of "Warp Tour")
- 14 off-planet warp pads (inactive)
- Gem battlefield (Scandinavian Peninsula)
- Ice Cavern
- Little Homeworld (active as of Steven Universe: The Movie)
- Lunar Sea Spire (location currently underwater)
- Mask Island (inactive as of "Super Watermelon Island")
- Pearl's Arena
- Prime Kindergarten
- Rose's Garden near Rose's Fountain
- Forest near Rose's Secret Armory
- Sky Spire, base of mountain
- Sea Shrine (currently flooded)
- Near the barn (formerly)
- The Great North
- Tiny deserted island near the two Harmony Core Temples in the Pacific Californian Coast
- Antarctica near the entrance to the Harmony Core Temple
- Diamond Throne Room (formerly as of Steven Universe: The Movie)
- Unknown Capital City
- The concept of the warp pad is similar to the transporters from Star Trek, as well as any myriad of devices used to bring characters from one place to another in an instant.
- A warp whistle can be used to activate warp pads, as shown in "House Guest". This is a reference to two whistles of the same name, one found in Super Mario Brothers 3 and the other found in The Legend of Zelda. In those games, blowing the whistle warps the player to a different world/dungeon.
- First seen the episode "Space Race", the galaxy warp is a warp pad hub with special warp pads that travel off-planet, with the most notable warp destination being the Homeworld warp.
- Steven has shown that he can warp on his own in "House Guest". He becomes proficient enough at it to warp others with him by the time of "Island Adventure".
- Steven warps the Crystal Gems in the new opening.
- When he is responsible for the warping, he spreads his arms out in the process.
- Flask Robonoids contain a special liquid that can repair cracks in warp pads. Large quantities of the liquid can even repair large cracks like on the galaxy warp.
- Remaining stable within the warp stream seems to require practice, as Steven's first known use of it caused him to lose his balance. Connie also stumbles in "Sworn to the Sword".
- Lars, Sadie, and Greg seem to have managed to remain stable on first use, which makes instability perhaps a fact that occurs with children or smaller gems lacking experience.
- This could be because warp streams appear to have no gravity on account that in "Serious Steven" Steven can float up in the opposite direction of the stream to retrieve his ukulele.
- Warp pads have one of the most reoccurring appearances in the show compared to most objects.
- Before warp pads were built on Earth, it is shown in the episode "Friend Ship" that Ancient Gem Colony Ships were used to transport Gems to and from the colony.
- In "Monster Reunion" it is revealed that corrupted Gems such as Nephrite cannot use the warp pads, even if they are partially healed.
- In the podcast is revealed that the reason for this is because they require Gems to use their mind to visualize where they're going, and so Nephrite couldn't do that with her corrupted mind.
- Humans are able to ride a warp, they just cannot initiate warps. With the warp whistle, a human is actually able to activate a warp pad and determine the destination.